Friday, May 24

Olympic sailor Stephanie Roble credits ‘strong community’ to fueling success ahead of Paris games

The U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Paris this summer is slowly being formed with more than 150 athletes already qualified.

WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist Frances Peyton caught up with Stephanie Roble of USA Sailing.

The sailor is a Wisconsin native who now calls the Sunshine State home. Her path to Paris started at a young age.

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“When I was born, my dad sailed around our little lake in Wisconsin with “It’s a girl on the sail,’ to announce to the lake that we just had a little girl,” Roble said. “I like to joke with them that little did they know what they were manifesting for me in life.”

Despite the early introduction to sailing, Roble wasn’t always excited about being on the water.

“I would cry I would be sick, I would just make up any excuse to not go on the water, and I remember one race, apparently my dad just pushed me off the dock and said, ‘Good luck,'” Roble said. “So there was a little bit of tough love with that.”

But then she won her first race.

“I said, ‘Oh, I like this winning thing,’ so that kind of motivated me to keep going and keep getting that feeling,” Roble said.

She kept at it becoming a top junior sailor.

Roble then watched her friend race in the summer games in Rio de Janeiro and that inspired her to compete in the Olympics.

“What does it mean to wear USA on your chest?” Peyton asked.

“Something that is really cool about the Olympics is that we are USA on the water, and we have our American flag spinnakers, which is just so cool,” Roble said.

“Steph is the perfect person to represent the United States,” longtime friend and team supporter Carolyn Groobey said. “She’s not only one of the best sailors in the world, which she is. But she is also one of the best human beings in the world.”

Groobey is a recreational sailor herself. She said there is one quality that Roble has that sets her apart from others.

“Oh my gosh, the fearlessness,” Groobey said. “When you watch Steph sail these boats, these are not easy boats to sail, and we sail boats that are not likely to tip over. It is the constant balance and optimizing of everything around the racecourse and she’s just such a fearless competitor, I admire that so much about her.”

This will be the second time that Roble has competed in the Olympics. She finished 11th in her discipline in the Tokyo Games.

“There is so much to look forward to, and we have a lot of great momentum right now,” Roble said. “It’s an exciting time for sure.”

A key to her success is her family.

“When you have a strong community around you, you can fuel off of that, so it will be really fine for us to have that in Paris,” Roble said.

Her Olympic races will begin on July 28. In the meantime, she and her teammate will be in Marseille, France, racing and training leading up to the games.

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